Keg Cop: Keg Monitoring and Control

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Keg Cop is an inexpensive and, most of all, simple to operate WiFi-enabled solution to maintain information about your Keezer, Kegerator, and Kegs. Keg Cop enables you to use flowmeters of your choice (Swissflow during development) to monitor the contents of your kegs, and it even has a built-in Web UI to display what is on tap and how much is left.

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Keg Cop uses an inexpensive ESP32 controller to control and monitor all aspects of your beverage dispensing solution. If you already have flowmeters from another project, you can easily use those and upgrade your approach. It will support one to nine flowmeters, and it will even control your temperatures for you.

You may employ up to five different temperature sensors to show you things like tower temp, keg temp, top and bottom of your Keezer, and you can even monitor the room temperature.

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I designed this project as a complete system from the ground up. Everything is provided, including board files for PCBs and 3D models for cases. I’m releasing this system as something which provides either a complete recipe for success or enough information to allow you to roll your own if that’s your thing.

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Whether you have one flowmeter or nine, Keg Cop can handle them. Have more? Add another controller, and KegScreen (coming soon!) will seamlessly display them all.

Want even more capabilities? Keg Cop will report pours to Raspberry Pints via MQTT or a web endpoint with a generic JSON packet.

Still not enough? Keg Cop was designed alongside KegScreen to work hand in hand with this exciting upcoming full-featured tap list solution.

Full documentation is provided, including the API and hardware assembly. Or, if you are a more nuts and bolts person, GitHub may be the place for you!

Links and Support:
This release has been a long time coming, and I’m excited to share this with you. I want to thank the following folks who have contributed in one way or another:
 

day_trippr

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Congrats - I know this has been a long time coming and happy you've gotten to the release day! :mug:
I recommend you do a Youtube video of this project to maximize awareness of what it offers...

Cheers!
 

cripplecreek

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This is absolutely fantastic news!! Congrats @LBussy!!!! I'm starting to climb out of a little hand grenade that got thrown into my lap over the last week or so, but I'm here to help anyone that builds this project. The platform is incredibly straightforward to build and has been rock solid stable in my testing. Very exciting!!
 

wd16261

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So this was that other project! Nice and again a good job! 👍👍👍 Unfortunaly I do not own any Keg yet but maybe in the near future?
 

Exception13

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This is absolutely fantastic news!! Congrats @LBussy!!!! I'm starting to climb out of a little hand grenade that got thrown into my lap over the last week or so, but I'm here to help anyone that builds this project. The platform is incredibly straightforward to build and has been rock solid stable in my testing. Very exciting!!
My very pretty purple boards arrived from OshPark the other day. Still waiting on the order from SwissFlo, but figured it was time to start building the main board.

The document outlines a sample build and I'm pretty sure I understand that section. Can anyone confirm that all the resistors (R1-R14) are 2.2Kohm? I saw a text file in one of the PCB directories on GitHub that seems to indicate this but just wanted to be sure.

Looking forward to upping my kegerator. 😊

Cheers!

Chris
 

balrog

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Let's see, you've work with raspberry pints, brew bubbles, brewpi, and now keg cop. You are quickly approaching the paradigm of providing a large box, into which one throws barley seed and water every week and has a tap at the other end. No, that's not right, you'd link it to Alexa for ordering the barley seed when the kanban numbers approached the seasonally adjusted consumption factors. Well done!
 

Exception13

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Hi again,

Another electronics newbie question. I am now waiting on a D32 v1.0.0.... as the D32 I have is a 30-pin DEVKIT board. Although the firmware will flash, and it seems to be working as I can add it to my network and see the webpage upon completion of that, it is 30-pin and not 32-pin and I'll bet there are pin inconsistencies between the two. So.... you mention to ensure to get both male and female headers. Is it best to solder short-pin female headers to the main board and male headers to the D32, or the other way around?

Cheers!

Chris
 
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The 30 vs 32 is probably something that could be worked around, but since you already have the PCBs, getting the proper Lolin D32 will prevent headaches.

Generally I solder the socket to the board, then push in the pins in the sockets, then place the controller on top of that and solder the short pins. It doesn’t matter, it’s just what seems more popular.
 
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@Thorrak and I just recorded a podcast about Keg Cop with Colter Wilson of Homebrewing DIY. It should be out in a couple of weeks, and hopefully in between my "um"s you can glean a nugget or two of information about this project.

In the meantime, check out the article: "Episode 91 - Mistakes Even Advanced Home Brewers Make" with Sachin “Chino” Darji. It's actually an article - perfect for you Luddites out there who prefer to read your information the old-fashioned way.
 

Exception13

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Hi Lee,

My SwissFlow meters arrived this week. I've had a look at my current lines (Bevlex 200) and they are too thick for the provided John Guest connectors. I've checked the SwissFlow site and all they say is that John Guest fittings are provided with no indication of size. Am I correct in guessing these are for 5/16 OD lines? Or are they metric sooooo 8mm?

Chris
 
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If the provided fittings are indeed John Guest, they are either 5/16" or 3/8" PTC. The good news is, the 5/16" is close enough to 8mm to make that a fit, and the 3/8" is said to fit the 9mm hose. I have not tried the 3/8," but I have some I need to try.

My challenge so far is that the threads on the Swiss Flow are 3/8" BSPP. The only fittings that I have been able to find that have 5/16" or 8mm PTC ends with 3/8" BSPP have a cone inside - part number AFAB0506C from DMFit. That cone prevents a proper seal; however, I (and many other) folks use them anyway. The Swiss Flow need is a flat surface inside (think of a garden hose washer) to seal properly. If you over-tighten the ones with the cone, they are prone to cracking or canting and losing the seal.

Another way to go is to order the 3/8" BSPP to 3/8" PTC, part number PI451213S and use a 3/8" (9mm) to 516" (8mm) PTC reducer, part number PI201210S from John Guest, or part number DUO105 from MoreBeer. That particular trip around the block probably requires buying from two different suppliers, but I have the parts here now to try (they just arrived yesterday).

There is one which @duncan.brown just pointed out (not sure how new they are, part number PM450813E,) which seems to be the right one. I ordered a bag from Amazon, so we'll see when they get here. They are black - I am not sure what the difference is, but they are listed for drinking water applications.

Hopefully, this afternoon I'll have the energy to replace the tubing surrounding my meters and get them a little closer to horizontal in the process.
 
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duncan.brown

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They are black - I am not sure what the difference is, but they are listed for drinking water applications.
The material is the same (acetyl co-polymer for beverage applications) according to the catalog. I think the color is just black = metric, inch = grey:

 

day_trippr

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Today I received a partial shipment of the John Guest PM450813E 3/8" BSPP to 8mm OD tubing I ordered to replace a DMfit part on my SF800 flow meters. The Amazon seller discovered their inventory of this part actually included a bag of unlike parts (they blamed John Guest) so I only received 10 of the 20 ordered. I need 12 for my 6 flow meters in my keezer and could use another 4 for the meters on my RO system controller. I may work a deal with Lee as he'll likely receive more than he needs :)

Anyway...here is the black JG fitting alongside the DMFit AFAB0506C 3/8" BSPP to 3/16" OD tubing - described as "cone type" (I can't find a "flat vs cone" definition for the JG part):

fm_couplers_01.jpg


fm_couplers_02.jpg


Aside from color and the obviously different overall body sizes, I can't discern a functional difference: the JG inside sports the same center stem with a surrounding flat rubber washer exactly the same as the DMfit part. I can say, however, that the JG threading is slightly larger across the top of the threads (ie: measuring with an inside caliper provides a lower value) and screws on tighter than the DMfit part, which tends to be wobbly until a good 2/3rd of the thread length is engaged.

Cheers!
 

day_trippr

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With their rubber-ish washers removed both the JG and the DMfit "bases" around the stem are flat...

Cheers!

[edit] Was wondering what "cone type" actually means and from these cross-sections it appears to refer to the center stem protruding from the "base" or not...

"Cone type"
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"Flat type"
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day_trippr

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I've been running six SF800s since September 2014 with lots of recirculated BLC cleanings over that time and they're all still amazingly accurate, so I'm going with "not harmful"...

Cheers!
 

duncan.brown

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With their rubber-ish washers removed both the JG and the DMfit "bases" around the stem are flat...
Interesting. Both flat and come have parallel threads, as in that diagram it’s the cone in the center that makes it cone. Shouldn’t be any thread difference.

The black JG fitting must be BSPP flat (which solves the problem) and maybe the DM fit has a slightly out of spec thread?
 

day_trippr

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fwiw, I measured the meter ends and the inside of both couplers. They are all BSPP.
Would be nice if industry players and retailers all actually flat out stated whether a fitting is BSPP or BSPT but there we are.
Anyway, no way to know if the DMfit is underspec or the JG is over. My bet though is they're both within their spec ranges...

Cheers!
 
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I hereby declare that the John Guest PM450813E fitting to be The Correct Fitting™ for Swiss Flow to 8mm EVABarrier tubing.

There is still a "cone" (maybe better called an internal collar to locate the washer) and I just don't care enough to figure out why this is better than the DMfit one. "It just is."
 
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I dont want to be dumb but I will, is there like a list of parts somewhere that I can just click on and order them? I can't seem to find that.

Edit: Oh nevermind, I found that under ASSEMBLY rather than under PLANNING.
 
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Edit 2: Swissflow SF800 flow sensors, 4 tap keezer req [email protected] $60ea + $20 shipping = $260... cheap?
You are commenting on someone else's product, for which there are other choices if the quality is not your goal. I just looked; four of the cheaper flowmeters (which are compatible) can be had for about $13.71 on AliExpress including shipping. That's about 5% of your original estimate.

That said, it's not cheap (which implies quality) but it is about half the price of the least expensive commercial version of a keg monitoring system for the same number of taps even with the best flowmeters available (a quality which is not matched in the commercial versions.)

I'll wait for the Inkbird version.
You are free to do so. You may be waiting for a while for an open system.

Edit: Oh nevermind, I found that under ASSEMBLY rather than under PLANNING.
This is a free and open-source project. If you think the documentation needs improvement, you are likewise free to submit a change.

do I have to order the boards in lots of three?
OshPark is not the least expensive option, but they are of the most consistent quality. For a lower price and a longer wait, you can order from other suppliers at roughly half the price and for 10 boards at a time (share or sell the rest.)
 

Exception13

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Edit: looks like I do. Jayjay out.
Edit 2: Swissflow SF800 flow sensors, 4 tap keezer req [email protected] $60ea + $20 shipping = $260... cheap?

I'll wait for the Inkbird version.
Wow, man.... He coded a system that looks pretty cool to me. Hand-fed where to buy the gear (BTW....you could have chosen the least expensive of the boards and flow meters, ya know), and posted 3-D print files for the enclosures. And you want to wait for an InkBird version? Scuse me while I pick my chin out of the puddle of drool on the desk.

Wow...

Chris
 
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Wow, man.... He coded a system that looks pretty cool to me. Hand-fed where to buy the gear (BTW....you could have chosen the least expensive of the boards and flow meters, ya know), and posted 3-D print files for the enclosures. And you want to wait for an InkBird version? Scuse me while I pick my chin out of the puddle of drool on the desk.

Wow...

Chris
Sorry, yeah re-reading I was really a jerk. Not to slam the effort that has been put in, I just wish stuff like this was a little easier to get into. I have a bit of experience with Arduino and Raspberry Pi, I am fully capable of soldering components, etc. and loading code, its just that the whole framework is so esoteric, at least from my perspective. I'm also not a youngster, just wish this stuff was easier to navigate.

Also, not gonna hold my breath for a commercial version, sorry for saying that.
 
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